Ryan Gosling plays Driver (one order of existentialism, please) a stunt driver by day and getaway driver by night, a loner that meets and falls for Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her young son (Kaden Leos). Her ex-husband (Oscar Isaac) is an ex-con who’s in debt to the wrong people. Gosling plays the mysterious wheelman perfectly radiating much of what Clint Eastwood had in High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider. While this movie could have easily been about fast cars and loose women director Nicholas Winding Refn (Bronson) showed great restraint and focused instead on the core of the story; Driver giving into his urges.
Bryan Cranston takes time-off his fatherly duties on Breaking Bad to play the fatherly mentor figure to Driver. Likeable and yet at the back of your mind a voice whispers “don’t trust him”. However, the true delight, and surprise, is Albert Brooks in a tour de force that screams Oscar. Playing against type Brooks is Bernie Rose a former movie producer turned loan shark. Just like the movie that spawned him he is an unsuspecting villain; pragmatic and borderline psychotic. Who knew Brooks would be more of a badass than Ron Perlman?
The slow story may be detrimental to Drive’s box office earnings but it only makes the violence ever more epic and more gruesome than anything seen in the Saw movies, simply because it’s unexpected. Lets not fool ourselves, violence is an urge and however you may feel about it when it explodes on screen try not to cringe.
Refn has laid cinema bare before us and allowed us a peak at what the art form can truly accomplish much like Tarantino once did all those many years ago; a pure cinema of images and actions. Or you may just think it’s nonsense. Drive is a polarizer, probably its best quality.[youtube:http://youtu.be/KBiOF3y1W0Y%5D